The challenge I’m involved in to run a two hundred mile relay was described in a Rapid Growth Media article with the title, “Getting Fit in 2016″. So what do we mean when we say the word “fitness” – let’s be honest; and what is the state of my own fitness – I’ll be honest too.
We all know that the term “fitness” has two meanings.
One meaning is healthyness. Everyone wants to be healthy. I had cancer once and I don’t want to get it again. There is still so much we don’t know about cancer but there is strong evidence that what we eat and how much we exercise contributes in a major way. And being healthy makes you live longer and feel good (so then you want to live longer).
But the other meaning of “fitness”, of course, is “hotness”. After my diagnosis, I got to participate in a Cancer Well-fit program at a health club. During our first class, one of the club owners was helping us through the math of our daily eating habits in order to show us how we could improve our healthyness when I whispered to John that it would also be great if the formula would make it possible for me to wear a teeny, little dress like the one she was rockin’.
(This is what happens when you go to Google images and type “Jennifer Morrison” – but actually, this is a different woman named Jennifer Morrison who has been in some shows. Ironically, I have that same leather bikini top/skirt ensemble which I only wear on casual Fridays.)
I think of both of these definitions of fitness as I enter my new challenge and I had both in mind on a recent short trip to Traverse City.
John attended a conference at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and I took some time off work and tagged along to just have a break and be an introvert. (Don’t hate me, I never get to do these things.) Because of the amenities at the resort, I did some things for my soul (like lay around enjoying a view with a latte and a novel) and some things for my body (like taking full advantage of their fitness classes, one aerobics and one yoga for me).
Interesting, then, considering this focus, was the full length mirror in the cavernous bathroom attached to our room – definitely the largest mirror that has ever reflected my naked form. My own bathroom mirror shows me from the hips up and, as a matter of course, refrains from full disclosure. Thus a different body from the one I see at home inexplicably shows up in every photo of me.
And here’s the thing that came into my mind: I love you anyway.
Or at least I don’t hate you.
I’m so bored with self body hate. We’ve all been doing it for most of our lives. And it’s the whole commercial machine manipulating us and all of that. Blah, blah, blah. It’s just boring that we all capitulate to that. Ever find yourself in a social situation and some one thinks that it’s sparkling conversation to list all the things about their body that they hate. Bo. Ring. Women get all wrapped up in it but men do it too.
Every bulge and pucker on my body is the result of a decision. And they were NOT bad decisions. Some of those decisions were quite excellent. They were glasses of red wine with my beloved in front of the fire in my living room. Or that doughnut at Marg’s that has half peanut butter and half chocolate frosting – that thing is good. And some of them were overpriced mediocre meals out that I immediately regretted. After beer and deep fried zucchini at the Cottage one night, the waitress came to the table to see what else we wanted and I said that we wanted to “take all that back”. You can’t do that.
Still, not a bad decision, often a difficult decision, a decision that reflects a lot of what’s involved in being a human being.
We do not live in a world that makes eating healthy easy or cheap. Same with exercise.
Ultimately, though, these choices are mine to make. And as I looked at myself in the hotel mirror I realized that I could adjust my choices at any time. And that seemed like good news! I mean, there I was at a resort eating salads for lunch and doing aerobics classes. Surely the new hot body was going to be a reality!
That night John got done with his conference early and we went looking for something fun to do. In an unfamiliar town, we used the internet to try to find a restaurant where eating healthy would at least be an option. So naturally we ended up at a cute, little pub enjoying a fried perch basket with a side of something called “sweet potato tots” and a Chardonnay. Just as we were finishing dinner, a Celtic band started playing and we recognized one of the guys from Fenian’s where we used to love to go for the music. On a wintry Tuesday, we had the place nearly to ourselves and it was early so we stayed. Of course, you can’t just sit there empty handed. Instead we split dessert and each had an after dinner drink. I could see the bottle of Frangelico behind the bar and can you imagine how well that pairs with a bowl of home made vanilla ice cream? With a live band playing Irish folk tunes and holding your darlin’s hand and feeling immune from all the troubles of the world?
I’m sorry but those were not bad decisions. And I would defend that statement to Jillian Michaels herself (though I might be scared and stutter a little).
I think what I’m saying here is that we need to let ourselves off the hook, let go of self-hatred, guilt, shame, etc.; let go of any sense at all that decisions about eating and drinking and exercising are “bad” or “good”, “virtuous” or “naughty”.
Decisions do lead to different destinations and that is all there is to it.